An evenly balanced offense helped the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia 76ers easily defeat the under-manned Cleveland Cavaliers 99-84 on Saturday.
Six players scored 10 or more points for the 76ers, with Jrue Holiday leading the way with 20. Reserves Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young added 19 and 16 points in the victory, which followed their first two-game losing streak of the season.
The Cavaliers struggled in the absence of rookie guard Kyrie Irving, who missed his third consecutive game because of concussion, and center Anderson Varejao, who has a right wrist injury.
“I told our guys that the worst thing they could possibly do would be to come in here and overlook a team like Cleveland, with all of its injuries,” 76ers coach Doug Collins told reporters. “That would have been a huge mistake.”
The 76ers took control of the contest late in the first quarter when they went on a 14-2 run after a timeout to grab a commanding 30-19 lead.
It was much of the same in the second quarter as the visitors built up a 21 point lead before settling for a 58-41 advantage at halftime.
“Guys really picked it up and played lock down defense,” Philadelphia’s Evan Turner said of the second quarter. “Jrue [Holiday] had some great moments and I think we had a lot of hustle plays and I think that is what really solidified us making a run.”
Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 20 points, while Ramon Sessions added 19 points for the home side, who had lost in overtime to Milwaukee on Friday.
“The energy wasn’t there from the start to the finish. I kind of expected that watching the guys in the locker room before the game,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott told reporters. “I told them: ‘I understand,’ but it doesn’t take away from the fact we need to compete at a high level like we’re capable of doing.”
SPURS 103, NETS 89
In Newark, New Jersey, Gary Neal scored 18 points and Tim Duncan recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds as San Antonio won their seventh in a row.
Tony Parker added 12 points, DeJuan Blair finished with 11, while Daniel Green and Thiago Splitter each had 10 for the Spurs.
San Antonio were bolstered by the return of sixth man Manu Ginobili. The Argentine guard had not played in 22 games after suffering a fractured metacarpal in the Spurs’ 106-96 loss in Minnesota on Jan. 2. Ginobili scored eight points and had four assists in 17 minutes.
Deron Williams scored 27 points to lead the Nets, who have lost six in a row. Kris Humphries added 15, while Jordan Farmar had 12 and Anthony Morrow 11.
NUGGETS 113, PACERS 109
In Indianapolis, Indiana, Ty Lawson scored 27 points to lead Denver over Indiana, ending the Nuggets’ five-game losing streak.
Danny Granger scored 26 points for the Pacers, who have lost four of five.
Arron Afflalo had 23 points and five rebounds and Corey Brewer had 19 points and five rebounds in his first game back after missing three straight because of the death of his father.
The Nuggets, who jumped to a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, survived a late run by the Pacers.
MAGIC 99, BUCKS 94
In Milwaukee, Jason Richardson scored 28 of his season-high 31 points in the second half and made nine three-pointers to lead Orlando over Milwaukee.
The Bucks limited Dwight Howard to 11 points and 14 rebounds, but had no defense for Richardson, who unleashed a barrage of three-pointers in the second half that helped Orlando erase a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and pull ahead.